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t» kagoshima iiNivFRsrrv 


Introduction to a Sociological Perspective of 
Symbolic Interactionism: Corrected Edition 

Tsukasa Kuwabara 
Maki Aburada 


The main purpose of this study is to examine the theory of Symbolic Interactionism formulated 
by Herbert Blumer, from the following viewpoints: 

a) How does Symbolic Interactionism explain the concept of socialization, i.e., the process 
in which hominids become human beings? 

b) How does Symbolic Interactionism explain the concept of Vergesellschaftung (Simmel, G.), 
i.e., the process or mechanism through which people construct human society? 

c) Why is human society to be considered to be a changeable process? 
After careful examination, the following findings were made: 

i) Blumer regards socialization as the process in which the two frameworks or perspectives 
(schemes of definition and generalized roles) that have been acquired by an actor through 
interactions with groups of others guide his/her interpretations/definitions. 

ii) In Blumer's theory, society is seen to be possible only when each of the actors in 
interactions can properly grasp the two standpoints (that of the other and one's own 
standpoint in the eyes of the other) by doing a kind of self-interaction (i.e., taking into 
account of taking into account; the concept taking into account of taking into account is 
the famous terminology used by N. Luhmann, but it was originally formulated by Blumer 
himself in 1953). 

iii) Because of the nature of others (black boxness), all the actors interacting with others are 

seen to be necessarily forced to revise their interpretations/definitions continually. For 

this reason, society must be regarded as a changeable process. 

Finally, we have tried to review critically the research method of Symbolic Interactionism (i.e., 

the approach from the standpoint of the actor) on the basis of the conception of man and society 

that has been clarified in the earlier chapters of this paper. Our review provides evidence for the 

two additional points listed below: 

iv) in doing the approach from the standpoint of the actor, only an individual can be included 
into the category of the acting unit. 

v) the standpoint of the actor perceived by researchers must never be seen as the standpoint 
in the raw but has to be seen as a kind of reconstruction of constructions created by 

m m ^ m * % 76 # 

We finally have confirmed that testing this conception of man and society (i, ii, and iii noted 
above) empirically, based on the points iv and v, would (and must) be one of our important tasks in 

In addition, this paper is the 'corrected' edition of the next article: Tsukasa Kuwabara, 2001, 
Introduction to a sociological perspective of Symbolic Interactionism (3)(The Summary of a doctoral 
54 1 . 

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